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Innovation: Virtual classroom improves the sexual violence situation across Guatemala

Knowledge is power, and it is even more powerful when it is shared. Our member organisation in Guatemala, CONACMI, developed a blended learning programme combining virtual and face-to-face learning about supporting children affected by sexual violence; which has now delivered training to over 1,100 professionals across the country.

What is it?

A blended learning programme – incorporating virtual classrooms and face-to-face sessions – for professionals working with children and families across Guatemala to help them learn best practice skills and techniques for working with children affected by sexual violence.

 

Why is it important?

Since 2010, our member organisation CONACMI has been working with the Ministry of Health in Guatemala, developing guidelines around what best practice looks like for supporting children and families affected by sexual violence. As a result, they have established themselves as the primary reference point for organisations working with children who need support to recover from trauma through psychosocial treatment.

However, they realised that guidelines alone were not enough to fill the learning gap that existed in their country. There was a lack of staff with the right training who were able to deliver to this best practice; meaning that children were not consistently able to access the best routes to recovery. 

Resources for face-to-face training can be tight, restricting access for organisations who might benefit from it – and who have the potential to improve the situation in their local communities. They realised that, in order to better spread their best practice, they could reach more people by making the learning available using online technologies; reducing travel time and costs whilst increasing scale. As a result, over 1100 professionals across the country have participated; from across sectors including health, justice, and psychosocial support.

 

How does it work?

The programme uses a variety of techniques to connect with learners, including e-mail, instant messaging, chat forums, virtual conferencing, videos and online lectures.

Learning topics include:

  • Understanding abuse
  • Understanding sexual abuse
  • Understanding the legal context 
  • Traumatogenic consequences of abuse
  • Indicators of abuse
  • Understanding cognitive behavioural therapy for overcoming trauma 
  • How to gather testimony from survivors of sexual abuse
  • Report-writing

 

This is delivered through a five day programme and an assessment process; through which CONACMI is able to ensure that professionals have learnt techniques and skills to a level at which they can effectively make change happen across Guatemala at scale.

Learn more about CONACMI at www.conacmi.org, or read about the United For Boys Charter at www.familyforeverychild.org/unitedforboys

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